Category Archives: Queer

UDON Comics, Zombie Video Games, and more…

So I really just posted the Scott McCloud notice because I thought having a 2-screen tall Scott McCloud on the site for a few days would be cool. Really gives you a sense of how iconic the whole thing is, doesn’t it? Anyhow, I figure I’ve got some time before bed tonight so why not do a little linkblogging?

Goku vs. Superman - UDON Comics for WizardITEM: My friends at UDON have been pretty busy lately, with everything except new Street Fighter II comic books (by the way, the Image to the right is by Long Vo of Udon, and features two fairly recognizable characters duking it out for Wizard magazine, copyright their respective whatsits).

Now, you may be asking yourself “Why is it that there aren’t any new Street Fighter Comics on the stands?” (Actually, chances are you probably weren’t, as I don’t think my readership crosses over with Udon’s so much, but indulge me for a second). Well, it was announced a week-or-two back that Udon has been tapped to do all of the art for the new 20th Anniversary edition of the Street Fighter II video game. Basically, they’re taking the fan-favourite (and best, honestly) version of SF2, called Super Street Fighter II Turbo and creating a “remix” called “HD Remaster“.

What’s different exactly? Well for starters, it’s going to be downloadable onto your X-Box 360 (only, at this point), and today’s home consoles make the arcade machines of our youth all look like PONG, they’re so much more advanced. The big difference is the level of detail in the art. Whereas the Street Fighter characters of our youth were a hundred pixels high or so, these new ones will be massive, and be better-able to capture expressions, details, every little fold of cloth… well, see for yourself:

Ryu Through The Ages

So, it’s essentially going to be like the current Udon Comics series, but playable. The primary art and style is actually by Alvin Lee of Udon, who, according to his Facebook profile is hard at work on the series, alongside the rest of the Udon team. It’s pretty rare that a licensor of Japanese material is then asked to go and work on the property for the owners, particularly in Japan. I get the sense that licensed books are sort of “Free Money” and it’s really not best to think about them too hard (which would explain some of the many, many atrocious licensed books). But yeah, doing an adaptation so good that it ends up being the basis for an anniversary edition worldwide? AND it’s a video game license that’s up there with Mario, Pac-Man, and Sonic? Kudos, gents. (Screenshot from Gamekult.com, Click for larger.)

ITEM: ZOMBIES! In honour of The Walking Dead Volume 6 finally shambling it’s way on to store shelves this week (yeah, no kidding there aren’t any fast zombies in TWD), may I present to you two chances for you to take on your own metaphor for consumerism/racism/society as a whole? These flash-based zombie killin’ games will get you all pumped up until you die, and realise that when the Zombiepocalypse comes, it’s gonna be about our brains, one way or another…

  1. BOXHEAD: ROOMS and MORE ROOMS: Okay, so you’re in a room, and you have to defeat neverending legions of the undead using a myriad of weapons. You only last until you run out of ammo. The End. Despite this, it’s incredibly addictive and mildly depressing. Did I mention that Satan is in the game too? Lots of Satans? Yeah. There’s also the BOXHEAD: HALOWEEN SPECIAL, in which you as lone-gun-toting-hero must lead groups of ‘civilians’ to safety. But we all know that in the world of the undead, there’s no such thing as safety. http://www.kongregate.com/games/SeanCooper/boxhead-more-rooms
  2. THE LAST STAND: Okay, so you’re behind a barrier, and you need to defeat neverending legions of the undead using a myriad of weapons. Sound familiar? Actually, it’s fairly different from BOXHEAD (more detailed/realistic for one), with a focus on dividing up your daylight hours between searching for survivors, weaponry, and rebuilding the only thing between you and the teeming legions of zombie hordes. Lots of fun zombie-movie in-jokes amongst the wide array of shambling (and occasionally running) corpses that you must destroy. I really like the hunting rifle, myself. http://www.freewebarcade.com/game/the-last-stand/

ITEM: Somehow I missed this, but a week ago it looks like GayGamer.net, a homocentric (heh) video game news/commentary site started up their own comics division. Cleverly entitled http://gaygamer.net/comics/, it’s going to cover the queer goings-on in the comics world. Somehow it missed my Cockphobia post. Perhaps it was beneath their notice. At any rate, posting at the blog has been a little spotty since it launched, but they just added a new blogger and it’s always good to have more queer-positive content out there.

That’s it for now. Thanks for reading!

– Christopher

Afraid Of Cock.

Not me, of course, but take a trip around the internet lately and you’ll find that the poor, put-upon fanboy is being subjected to higher-than-normal ammounts of cock by the unfeeling bastards in charge of the comics industry. How’s that for the antithesis of the typical complaints about homosexuality and even male sexuality in comics?

It all started with Don MacPherson, talking about the images below:

jsa7.jpgpackage.jpg

“One has to give DC Comics credit, though, for sexualizing characters of both genders in its newest solicitations. Just check out the Alex Ross-painted cover image for Justice Society of America #7, slated for release in July. It depicts the newest member of the title team, Citizen Steel, a young man carrying on his family’s heroic tradition after he was altered by liquid metal excreted by a Nazi super-villain.

“That strange steel elixir has transformed him into an invulnerable super-hero, a man of steel. And if one looks closely, it’s not just his fists and flesh that are hard as a rock. Perhaps his red, white and blue costume has led him to believe he’s a postal carrier, because he’s looking down at a package… one he seems more than ready to deliver.

“Groovy… it’s a special delivery… for the ladies. Or perhaps this is DC’s subtle attempt to test of the waters in the yaoi fanbase.”
– Don Macpherson

Oh Don, you’re right, because whyever would a dude wanna look at another dude’s package? I mean, that’s solely the domain of ladies and yaoi fans, who are also mostly ladies.

So what starts off as a pretty ignorant comment in a well-meaning article by Don about the sexification of Catwoman et al. snowballs into Brian Cronin making a jack-ass of himself over at the CBR blogs. Take it away, Brian:

“So, just when I was about to expand DC Comic cover snark this month to include a discussion of two horrible horrible horrible horrible statues that DC solicited this week, Don MacPherson had to alert me to a piece he wrote on those two statues at his neat site… Don also made a catch that, admittedly, I do not think I would have noticed, regarding the JSA cover solicited for July…

“Notice anything creepily unusual? Look closer (as Don so ably does for us).

“How freaking creepy is THAT? My pal Jake said to me, “I think there are two equally creepy options – 1. Ross intentionally, on his own accord, drew a big bulge in the guy’s pants or 2. The model Ross had for Citizen Steel had a big bulge, and Ross decided to paint it in.”

“Pretty darn creepy.”
– Brian Cronin

Where do I start with that? First and foremost, there’s a reason that “Comics Should Be Good” isn’t linked from my site, and the above is a good indicator of why. Second, that’s what “Queer Fear” is, in case you were wondering. Brian and his ‘buddy’ Jake are ‘creeped out’ by a bulge in another guy’s pants (artistic or otherwise). The idea that an artist chose to give a character an impressively-rendered package is actually frightening to these fellas, and the idea that his model might’ve had a good-sized package in real life? And Alex Ross decided NOT to neuter him for some insane reason? Equally as creepy.

Men In Underwear 1The best, best part, is the comments section at Cronin’s post. Wherin a bunch of fanboys come to Brian Cronin’s defense over finding cock terrifying. My favourite bit is where “Jake” says:

“What weirded me out about it wasn’t that a bulge existed, but what must have been Ross’s thought process. It was his clear devotion to accurately reproducing what an erect penis would look like in a superhero costume. Either he planned on giving Citizen Steel a boner, or whoever his model that he painted from had one, and he made damn sure he captured a good likeness.”

Jake, buddy, on behalf of all of us who have made hobby out of studying the bulges in guys’ pants, let me state—for the record—that that is not what a good-sized cock looks like when it is erect, in form-fitting material. It isn’t even an artistic approximation therof. That’s just a good-sized soft cock looks like. I’m… I’m very sorry that you can’t tell the difference between the two. I’m afraid I’m going to have to recommend some remedial work for you in this subject. I recommend starting with the underwear section of InternationalMale.com for an hour a day until you can tell the difference.

While Brian Cronin appears to have decided his post doesn’t need defending (I’d submit that it’s, instead, indefensible) Don Macpherson is not one to take criticism lightly, and his defence of his original column continues in the comments section at Comics Should Be Good, and even spills over into the comments section at the Newsarama Blog. In response to a critic, Don offers up “You make it sound as though Ross has no choice but to include a bulge just because there’s one apparent on the model.” Did I mention that said critic is irate homosexual Dorian Wright from PomoBarney? No? It is:

“So, Don, is it the very idea of a bulge that you’re objecting to, then? Because, yes, if Ross is accurately attempting to portray the model, and say what you will about his art, he does appear to be meticulous in attempting to make it as realistic as possible, than he probably should show a bit of package if the model is. But most importantly, SO WHAT? It’s not as if Ross has lovingly detailed the outline of the shaft through the clothing. All he’s done is paint the shadows and highlights in such a way as to suggest that his model wasn’t a Ken doll. Honestly, from some of these reactions, you’d think comic fans were uncomfortable with the suggestion that men have genitals.”
– Dorian Wright

Image Copyright 2007, International Male.It’s always fun to see Dorian be bitchy, and here he’s fully justified. He’s playing politic here too, and not just out and out claiming that lots and lots of comics fans are entirely uncomfortable with the suggestion that men have genitals. They are. To be fair, it’s not just comics fans, lots of dudes are completely and utterly uncomfortable with their sexuality, but Comic Fans are pretty special in that regard, and comics characters have long been so artisticly dickless as to be concave where their genitals should be it’s not surprising that they’re a little on edge. As a commenter at Newsarama points out, the artistic focus of the piece is clearly the face and chest of the character, not the cock, but certain posters just seem mesmerised by Citizen Steele’s package (that’s his real name, by the way). Why is that, do we think? I’m sure the folks who have a problem with it—the commenters that find it ‘creepy’ or scary—would argue that you simply can’t avoid looking at it, it’s so prominent! I’d like to offer another theory.

Go check out this out. It’s a report on a study about “eyetracking” or seeing how people interact with the internet. It uses a set of goggles to measure where the eye is fixating on a page, and then turns that into visual data. It ranges from bright red, where the eye lingers for a longer period of time, to blue, where the eye barely scans. But yeah, let’s skip to the relevant part. Here’s me quoting a big chunk from the site.

–>Quoted from http://www.ojr.org/ojr/stories/070312ruel/

When photos do contain people related to the task at hand, or the content users are exploring, they do get fixations. However, gender makes a distinct difference on what parts of the photo are stared at the longest. Take a look at the hotspot below.

Although both men and women look at the image of George Brett when directed to find out information about his sport and position, men tend to focus on private anatomy as well as the face. For the women, the face is the only place they viewed.

men-v-women.gif
This image of George Brett was part of a larger page with his biographical information. All users tested looked the image, but there was a distinct difference in focus between men and women.

Coyne adds that this difference doesn’t just occur with images of people. Men tend to fixate more on areas of private anatomy on animals as well, as evidenced when users were directed to browse the American Kennel Club site.

<--End Quote. (Bolded emphasis above is mine)

It’s not Alex Ross’ fault, gentlemen. You just can’t help staring at the cock. Even when you’re afraid of it.

– Christopher
Note: I’m sorry that this had to be my first post of substance in days.
Edited to add: Pictures of dudes with big packages, for ‘comparisson’.

Catching Up: X-Files Movie?

Since my last “Catching Up” post went over so very, very well, I figured it was time for another. Here’s what the last 4 days of Google Reader have turned up:

x-files.jpgHollywood.com has David Duchovney confirming a new X-Files movie is in the works. According to Duchovney, “This week, they’re starting some kind of road towards doing it (the film). Gillian and I both want to be in it now. We’re happy to do it.” How about that eh? Time heals all wounds, as does a pretty thoroughly unspectacular post-X-Files career… On a related note, my employer has a ton of original X-Files art for sale by X-Files comics adaptation artist Sean Scoffield. There’s also art from the Queer as Folk TV Show, the movie eXistenZ, and the recent Underworld mini-series from Marvel Comics. Just Saying.

 

– Video Game website “Gameasutra” has an article up on being out and LGBT in the video gaming industry. The answers are very, very similar to what I hear from gays in the comics industry, so in lieu of any such articles on comics, I figured it was worth pointing out to the industry-watchers who watch this blog. Here’s a good quote from the opening:

Jeb Havens, probably one of the most visible and vocal LGBT developers, says, “It’s not like there’s only a handful” of gay people making games, “but there’s no presence or community. There’s no ‘gay’ face to it.”

I’d love to write a similar article about LGBT creators and industry folk in comics, particularly within the larger realm of blogging, but with no time to spare it’s not gonna happen. C’est la vie, but go read this one: it’s really well done. Thanks to GayGamer.net for the link.

 

– The best part about my job is selling good comics to people. There’s a special kind of magic to selling someone the first volume of The Invisibles, or giving them Scott Pilgrim for the first time. It honestly makes all of the other stuff, like selling Civil War, totally worthwhile. I was reminded of this by Matt Forsythe back in the comments to my Taiyo Matsumoto post, as it looks like just went out and dropped a bunch of coin on Matsumoto books. Nice! This is why I was so pleased to see this nostaligic remembrance of comics retail from Richard Bruton at the blog Fictions, about his time at Nostalgia & Comics in Birmingham:

“The rarest of prizes though, the really fun one was when a customer would come in and tell you that they’d read everything they wanted and could you suggest anything to read. That always made for a fun 10 minutes or so of chat and selling.

“I always sold the books to people with the promise that if they didn’t like them all they had to do was bring it back in and we’d refund the money, no questions asked. To me it seemed the only fair thing to do. After all, this wonderful customer is putting down good money for a book just because I’m telling them it’s wonderful. I’ve spent a little time asking all the pertinent questions to gauge exactly what sort of thing they’re after, but I could always misjudge their comic character and sell them something they hate.

“I’m very proud of the fact that in all my years of doing this, not a single copy has ever been returned. Not one.” – Richard Bruton, Fictions Blog

I don’t have that kind of track record, sadly, but I occasionally let what I think people should be reading get in the way of what they might enjoy reading. I’m doing my best 🙂 Tip of the hat to the Forbidden Planet Blog for the link.

 

I think that’s all for now. The contest details for the Garage Band contest are finished. They’re awesome. Posted later today.

– Christopher

I’m Here, I’m Queer, Get Interested In It.

Fun Home CoverSo I’m not a fan of the GLAAD media awards.

I went on about this a few years back, but essentially GLAAD is the “Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defimation” and every year they hand out awards for positive portrayal of queers in the media. Films, TV Series, News Programmes, whatever. Comic Books too, actually, and it’s the comic book section that really pisses me off. Why? GLAAD’s mandate pushes ‘mainstream’ or ‘visible’ material over quality material. So if something is really great and really queer, but say published by Oni Press, wheras something is mediocre on every level (including queer representation) but is published by DC Comics? DC gets the award. For Example:

Past Winners:
2006: Young Avengers, Marvel Comics
2005: Luba, Fantagraphics
2004: Catwoman, DC Comics
2003: Green Lantern, DC Comics
2002: Green Lantern, DC Comics
2001: Supergirl, DC Comics
2000: Supergirl, DC Comics

Yeah, congrats to Gilbert Hernandez and Luba, but that’s pretty odd and uninspiring company Gilbert finds himself in.

This year’s nominees for Best Comics are:

OUTSTANDING COMIC BOOK
52 by Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, Mark Waid (DC Comics)
American Virgin by Steven T. Seagle (Vertigo/DC Comics)
Fun Home by Alison Bechdel (Houghton Mifflin)
Manhunter by Marc Andreyko (DC Comics)
Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughn (Vertigo/DC Comics)

Which… With two queer authors and an actual book about queer issues, fills me with a hope that will almost certainly be dashed against the rocks when Y: The Last Man wins, but something like 52 even being nominated makes me more than a little queesy. I even like Greg Rucka and the Montoya character, but that series is neither of their finest hours.

But to get to the point of this post? It looks like the gay media is sick of supporting these awards, when the gay media are completely unlikely to get anything out of them. From the Queerty blog:

“Gay cable network here! isn’t having GLAAD‘s straight-washing of their Media Awards. Despite describing itself as dedicated to “promoting and ensuring fair, accurate and inclusive representation of [LGBT] people and events in the media”, the watchdog group refuses to include gay programming in their nominations. To protest this queer contradiction, here! has yanked their support of the annual event.”

There are a lot of apologists for GLAAD’s mission statement and the awards themselves, but honestly? I’m glad a gay organisation finally stood up and against the awards as they stand. They’re effectively celebrating portrayals of gay people as either stereotypes or cartoons, and their celebrity worship at the expense of shining a spotlight onto smaller, more deserving works ranks pretty high on my own social injustice meter. In this specific instance, shutting out queer programming by queers in favour of truly dreadful crap like, oh, Brothers & Sisters is just… blaaaaaaaaaah.

I think a connected, political, entertainment-oriented organisation for Queers is important, and even telling Kevin Smith that he’s being a jack-ass at the risk of looking out-of-touch doesn’t bother me. But (to mangle a metaphor) they’ve got a huge voice and a big pulpit, and instead of Proselytizing to the masses they’re preaching to the choir.

– Christopher
P.S.: No manga? What the hell?
P.P.S.: Thanks to Dorian for the tip.